• Week Of 5/11 - 5/17
  • SU11
  • MO12
  • TU13
  • WE14
  • TH15
  • FR16
  • SA17
Track Handicapper Darin Zocali's Bio
Darin Z  RACE REVIEWS by Darin Zoccali A thoroughbred and standardbred racing announcer and analyst, Darin works for several racetracks including the Meadowlands, Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park and Tioga Downs.  He is also a regular fill in on Sirius XM Radio's Down The Stretch broadcast.  He is a graduate of St John's University (class of 2005) and is one of the youngest announcers/broadcasters in the racing business.

Race Reviews For Saturday, May 17, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 5-1-8-10
H Horse Comment
1 STOLEN CAR This will be Rue’s second lifetime start as a driver. This horse actually fits well in this spot. Inclined to give him a look here.
2 PANPERO FIRPO Lone win doesn’t stack up well against this particular group. Will need to step his game up to be a factor this time.
3 GAELIC THUNDER His Pocono form doesn’t bode well for this event. He would need to turn things around in order to contend here.
4 KINGS POINT Defeated the bottom level at Freehold rather handily. That said, that field does not match up against this group. Longshot.
5 DRAGON LORE Was sent off at 145-1 last time from post 10 and wasn’t bad. Now moves inside. Expecting a better trip and better result.
6 GRAB YOUR KEYS Just 2 for his last 57 going back to September of 2012. His last effort was decent. Looking elsewhere for the winner.
7 PUT IT IN GEAR Certainly seems to be struggling this year and hasn’t put forth an effort that indicates improvement. Not sold on chances.
8 WILLY MUCHA The last time he raced at this level, he won at 18-1. But, Bongiorno is just 2 for his last 109. Still, this horse can win now.
9 CONORS CONCORD Gelding seems to be moving in the right direction. Most recent effort was better. But, he is 0 for 10 this year. Tricky.
10 SEEK THE DRAGON Burnt a lot of cash as the 4/5 favorite last time. Not sure he has the speed needed from here. Using underneath only.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 3-6-7-4
H Horse Comment
1 KEEP GOING Sent off at 56-1 last time he tried this level here. Appears to be at his best against a notch below this. Longshot once again.
2 SING FOR ME GEORGE Was too far back last time. He was still 46-1 in that spot and does his best work against softer than this.
3 WORD POWER An even try in the toughest FFA in the sport thus far this year. Talented 4YO merits strong consideration on the class drop.
4 MOJO TERROR Kicked home nicely last week to pick up a check. Faces a similarly tough group and I expect a minor award is his ceiling.
5 ULTIMATE BEACHBOY Gets Gingras for the first time this year and is coming off an improved effort. Still, will need to improve to win this.
6 NOVA ARTIST Raced extremely well off the 4 week layoff. If he takes another step forward, he can threaten the top 2. Merits consideration.
7 ODDS ON EQUULEUS Just couldn’t get by a game Wake Up Peter last time. He can’t let Word Power get away from him. Must stay close.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 4-6-5-10
H Horse Comment
1 CAUTION SIGNS Did not threaten last time in a fast mile at 16-1. I don’t see this race as any easier, so improvement is needed here.
2 CC RACY He has not been able to break through at the C-1 level at Freehold. This has been a tougher spot all season. Needs more.
3 EIGHT TEN EOM He has not moved forward since returning from the layoff. Yet to hit the board in 5 starts this year. Another up against it.
4 BUCKEYE IN CHARGE Very interesting contender. Love the move to Pierce here and finally gets away from post 10. May be overbet.
5 BOLDER Really didn’t have a chance last time. Note the mile two starts back though. Expecting a performance closer to that solid try.
6 RELENTLESS DREAMER He has been left with too much to do each of the last 3 starts. The lack of speed outside should keep him closer.
7 MR THOMPSON Does own a nice looking win at Freehold against softer competition. The move here is a big question mark. Tough call.
8 SHAKERATTLENROCK You aren’t going to win from last turning for home at Tioga. That said, this gelding hasn’t won since 7/21/2012.
9 VISA VIPER When last seen here he was 29-1 from an outside draw and didn’t fare well. This looks like a similar spot. Longshot again.
10 CITY PIE I have a hard time seeing him winning from here. That said, he does show races good enough to earn a share. Underneath.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 7-8-2-4
H Horse Comment
1 SAYITALL BB Only loss came in the Blizzard Final. That said, she gets her biggest class test to date and was not Gingras’ choice either.
1A I NEED HOTSTUFF Just 1 for 15 in her career and that lone win came in a soft nw1 event at Philly. She needs to improve substantially.
2 IDEAL HELEN She chased Act Now around the track in that qualifier. Won a NJSS leg last year as well as the Babic and Futurity. Talented.
3 MARZY BEARZY Hard to endorse off that recent effort at Vernon. She will need to be much better than that to contend here. Longshot.
4 ROCKINGCAM PARK The question is, how does she make up 6 lengths on the favorite in 1 week? Figures to battle it out for minor award.
5 BOLR OF THUNDER She has been facing some good looking fillies that have beaten her. But I would have liked to see a win this year.
6 MY LADY DAY She tackled grand circuit company a couple of times last year. She paced a really big mile at Lexington. Still a price here.
7 GETTINGREADYTOROLL She relished the exceptionally fast surface we saw last week. This filly clearly is extremely fast. The favorite.
8 ACT NOW Almost got the job done in the Fall Final Four. She had a nice two year old season. The qualifier says she is ready. Including.
9 EVIL FIGHT This filly has been racing well and similar to Bolt Of Thunder, has faced some quality fillies. Will have to show a lot of speed.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 5-8-4-1
H Horse Comment
1 FIYONCE She has certainly turned the corner the last two starts. This is a further test for class. Note Gingras driving other Burke trainee.
1A ATSALLRITE HANOVER Only one lifetime start to her credit and it came 10 months ago. She is a ½ sister to Apprentice Hanover ($782k).
2 PITA That late surge while sent off at 80-1 seems like a long time ago. This is a huge test for class and she looks up against it here.
3 SHE’S DANGEROUS Filly brought $80,000 as a yearling and showed some promise at Lexington. Qualifiers say she may need one start.
4 BOXED CHOCOLATES Have to like to see Brennan getting behind this filly that packs early speed. She will need a lifetime mark to win.
5 SURFSIDE SEXY See how Rockingcam Park fared in the 4th race. Has a win over the track and is Gingras’ choice. Logical contender here.
6 BLIXTRA You can make the argument that she needed that last start. Still would have liked to have seen more from her. Longshot again.
7 HIGHLAND ROCKSTAR In her lone try here she was sent off at 82-1 and did not factor. Make note of the barn change though.
8 FANTICIPATION Forced 4-wide while chasing an insanely fast filly. That was a solid effort. The concern tonight is the post. Including.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 6-8-7-5
H Horse Comment
1 COLOSSAL Getting some needed class relief for this assignment. That said, this field did come up extremely tough. Still looking elsewhere.
2 SOME KINDA BEACH That was a really good looking qualifier, but keep in mind how fast the track was last week. Tetrick chose off too.
3 COBALT MAN He owns a win here in a sub-1:50 performance earlier in the season. Recent form is suspect. I need to see improvement.
4 YO CHEYENNE ROCKY Has been racing pretty well at Yonkers lately and has raced well here before. Was not Pierce’s choice though.
5 BET ON THE LAW He probably should have been a little bit better last time. That being said, this is a classy horse who has won here.
6 FANCYFREESHARK Exits a very good race. Odds on Equuleus came out of that race to be a very good 2nd. Tetrick’s choice of three.
7 ALWAYS B MIKI My guess is he just didn’t take to the Philly track. He looked much better here. Expect a bounce back upon his return.
8 QUIK MAGIC Could loom as a threat to ‘Miki. Exits a very strong race and note his prior efforts at these levels were solid. Legitimate.
9 MIGHTY YOUNG JOE This horse is having a great season. Really respect him. I do think this race is particularly difficult though. Tricky.
10 DREAMLANDS ART He is entering this off a win, but his Meadowlands form concerns me as does the outside draw. Tough assignment.
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 7-2-1-5
H Horse Comment
1 SEBASTIAN K Looked like the World Champion he is in his North American debut. The track was extremely fast last week, but he still trotted 1:50.1. I think Svanstedt is perfectly content going first up with Sebastian, which may be the scenario tonight. Major force here.
2 MARKET SHARE I really though his effort was just as impressive as his Swedish foe, given the ground he made up in the stretch on such a fast surface. He might find himself in position to track Sebastian K. Both are likely to be less than 2-1, so there isn’t much value. One to beat.
3 SEVRUGA Indications are that Pierce made a commitment to drive this trotter when Miller was injured. I am a bit concerned that he was beaten 5 lengths last week. That is a lot of ground to make up on Market Share. If the track is speed favoring, it will play to his advantage.
4 ARCHANGEL He trotted in 1:50.4 in his 2nd start off an 18 month layoff. That’s ridiculous. Will be a factor in this division, unsure about here.
5 INTIMIDATE Young Vinnie Ginsburg is given the opportunity of his career to drive this talented trotter. He was finishing quite well last week and he lands a perfect post as well. With Pierce off and the top 2 taking all the play, he will be a massive overlay. He has a chance to win this.
6 UNDERCOVER STRIKE He actually raced really well last week. Still believe it will take others to falter and a lifetime best to win tonight.
7 ARCH MADNESS He has come back to his peak level faster than in years past. I love the move to Brennan as he must be aggressive to protect position with Modern Family likely blasting. If he works out a favorable trio, he is a legitimate win contender at a square price.
8 POSSESSED FASHION Did well to find a slot in the Final. That said, he was 54-1 in the elimination and is up against it. Longshot here.
9 MODERN FAMILY Speaking of value, this trotter was 2/5 in the elimination and trotted 1/5th of a second off the world record and will likely be somewhere around 6-1 at post time. He might be cutting the mile, but a battle with Sevruga past the ¼ may be in the cards. Contender.
10 DW’S NY YANK Recovered from that miscue to make the final. Catches the worst of the draw and looms a longshot this time around.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 5-6-4-9
H Horse Comment
1 DAVID’S DREAM Chased after Urgent Action last week to no avail. He will need to improve off that to catch the likely favorite tonight.
1A OK COMMANDER A fast winner last week, but make note that Pierce opted to drive K-Lees Shakenbake from post 10. Speaks volumes.
2 OLDE TIME HOCKEY Has paced back to back sub-1:50 miles. Callahan does choose off though. Likely to offer a square price this time.
3 BREES CREEK Turned a perfect pocket trip into a win over Tobago Cays. This race is very competitive and he is one of many contenders.
4 URGENT ACTION Looks like the favorite based on his romp last week. The most likely winner, but far from a cinch. I want value in here.
5 TOBAGO CAYS This could be the value play. He won’t be anywhere near that 4/5 price he offered last week. Expect him off a helmet here.
6 ONTARIO SUCCESS He was flying each of the last two weeks in the stretch. He just needs to stay a little bit closer to contend for the win.
7 RUSTY SKIPP Beaten favorite from last week loses Callahan tonight. He continues to race well and should be included in gimmicks.
8 LONG LIVE ROCK Dauplaise did it again with the same horse last week as several times before. He will need to work out a trip tonight.
9 K-LEES SHAKENBAKE This gelding looked like his old self flying home last week. Pierce gives him a big vote of confidence. Contender.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 2-4-5-10
H Horse Comment
1 TRUE TO MACH He is a bit of a wild card. His last effort was a bit better. I suppose he can save ground and sneak into a share of this.
2 TELL US MORE Callahan had his choice and goes elsewhere. But this horse was not bad off the layoff and drops in class. Interesting.
3 HEZA TRICK N My gauge for horses with Freehold lines is that need to be able to beat the B-2 there to contend in a C-2 here. Not sold.
4 PEMBROKE DEWEY Gelding has done a lot more knocking on the door than winning. Still, he is always right there and needs to be used.
5 STALLONE BLUE CHIP The trip just didn’t work out last time. That said, his previous effort wasn’t bad. He can bounce back this time.
6 THE POKESTER Interesting to see Brennan get the call here. I suspect we will see speed this time. Has value for the exotics here.
7 LETTHEROCKBEGIN When he got through the far turn in 28.4, he really should have more in the lane. I think things get tougher now.
8 SAYWHATUNEEDTOSAY Yet to hit the board in 5 starts this year. That said, he seems to be improving. Could be a longshot to include.
9 SPENDER HANOVER The 1 for 16 mark on the year scares me from a win perspective. Still he fits at this level. Will use underneath.
10 SOMEPLACE SPECIAL He just got run over by Freddy Day who made some equipment changes and it paid off. Likely to be sending.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-2-3
H Horse Comment
1 I’M BANSKY Has not been as effective the last couple of starts. Perhaps the move inside will help. Should offer a square price. Including.
2 SIR CARY’S Z TAM He had some late pace last time and this post will keep him close as well. Could be sitting on a peak effort now.
3 FRIDAY AT FIVE Back to back 10-holes and he raced well. Still loses Callahan, but on the move inside, I think you have to use this gelding.
4 TREND SPOTTER Aggressive drive last time. He was game in the stretch as well. With a trip, he can certainly find his way onto the ticket.
5 SEE AND SKI Well, he stayed pacing last time, but just couldn’t pace with the winner. This field is softer and he is a legitimate threat now.
6 HILLYBILLY Tough trip last time. Tetrick sticks, but remember Toscano is the trainer. He would need to improve to contend for the win.
7 MY TEMUDJIN N Driver change to Callahan off that kind of mile is going to attract plenty of attention at the windows. Likely chalk. Player.
8 DEMOCRACY N He is another horse that raced well last time. That being said, we can’t use everybody, so I guess I am leaving him out.
9 THE PAN POOBAH Finished in a dead heat with the foe to his inside last time. Gingras/Burke combo hurts the price. Mixed feelings.
10 ALEX BULLVILLE He didn’t race badly on the move up in class last time. But now he loses Tetrick and gets post 10. Tough assignment.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 6-3-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 FRANKIES DRAGON Raced very well last week, but he gets a huge test tonight. This FFA is tougher than what he saw on 4/26. Longshot.
2 ROCKIN AMADEUS It’s good to see the Breeders Crown winner getting back to his winning ways. He too, gets an acid test here. Tricky.
3 GOLDEN RECEIVER He was actually better last week if you watch his replay. I expect to see a move forward off that. Speed, obviously.
4 BANDOLITO Third place finisher from that last mile won the TVG FFA leg last week. This little horse has a big motor. Logical contender.
5 ALLSTAR LEGEND I think he is in a tough spot here. He will have to push Golden Receiver from here. I might take back in this spot.
6 WARRAWEE NEEDY He is racing back into shape and he was pacing well in the stretch. Look for him to be flying all the way to the wire.
7 EASY AGAIN Solid in the Levy. He has won on bigger tracks before, but I see him getting away last in here. Don’t see that working.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 7-5-10-3
H Horse Comment
1 ROCK OUT He has been racing well against softer company. Sharp horse with early speed. Could prove to be a pace factor in here.
2 ODDS ON RHODONITE Currently #28 on my Road to the Meadowlands Pace. First start back. Shows a strong mile at Lexington.
3 BEAT THE DRUM He is #22 on my Road to the Pace. Also making his first start of the year. Earned checks in grand circuit action.
4 THEINDECENTLAWYER If he is unable to defeat a lower condition at Tioga, it is hard to envision him winning this. Appears up against it.
5 WESTERN VINTAGE Ranked #4 on my Road to the Pace. Toss out the break. NJSS Champion last year is strictly the one to beat here.
6 ACCOUNT ROLLOVER Raced in some late closer events in Canada. This is a significant move up in class though. Needs absolute best.
7 DOO WOP HANOVER Ranked #16 on my Road to the Pace. Won a Crown elimination last year. Looked great in his qualifier. The pick.
8 FRANKANDJOANNE Lone win came against a soft nw1 group at Pocono. Was not a factor in the Reynolds here. Appears in very tough.
9 CARD SHOCK Winless streak has reached 13 and it is hard to envision that ending here. Needs a lifetime best performance to contend.
10 DANCIN HILL Ranked #19 on my Road to the Pace. Couldn’t have paced home any faster last week. Needs to find a way into the race.
11 SWEET ROCK Is yet to win in 12 lifetime starts, including nw1 company here. Similar to Card Shock, he needs a huge leap forward.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 9-4-2-5
H Horse Comment
1 WELL SAID STRIDE Comes from marvelous family. ½-brother to Cathedra Dot Com & Cabrini Hanover. Cost $380k. Disappointing so far.
2 SIR SAM’S Z TAM Ranked #37 on my Road to the Pace. Looked good winning his 2014 debut. Steps up into a tougher field. Consider.
3 SKYPE HANOVER The horse that beat him in that qualifier is a very nice 3YO. I see improvement in him from last year. Will include.
4 EL BLOOMBITO Dropped him to #24 on my Road to the Pace off a mile where he drifted badly in the stretch. Loses Tetrick. Can improve.
5 NEAT He really tailed off at the end of last year. But, that last qualifier was big. He looks ready to go and I wouldn’t sell him too short.
6 LET’S FOAL AROUND I was surprised he could beat El Bloombito. Tonight’s problem is he loses Gingras to a Burke trainee. Still contends.
7 ROCK FAME As the nw2 events have gotten tougher, his form has gone in the wrong direction. Looks like a longshot in this tough group.
8 NEW YORK BETS Qualified better, but that was just a 1:56 mile and this race is likely to go around 1:50. Has a lot of ground to make up.
9 THAT’S MY OPINION Buzz horse for The Pace is ranked at #12 this week. Very talened and from the family of Big Jim. Cost $350k, too.
10 GOLDIN PARACHUTE Exits a good qualifier and this colt has some upside. But in his first start from post 10, I am looking elsewhere.
14 Fourteenth Race Entries
Picks: 2-6-9-4
H Horse Comment
1 HILARIOUS HALO Had to come from far back last time and will likely stay closer from here. I can see him sneaking into the picture.
2 MEIRS HANOVER This horse has a lot of back class, but this year at Hoosier has been difficult. I can see him stepping up into this spot.
3 HARE CRAFT That was good qualifier. Chased a decent horse in the process. He has the ability to contend with this field. Including.
4 JINS DRAGON Liked him last week. He took a ton of play despite Miller choosing off, which he does again here. Worth including again.
5 LUCKY HOUSE Out-raced his odds 2 starts back but was not as successful last time. He is 0 for 10 this season as well. Needs more.
6 MC RUSTY Getting some class relief and this was Miller’s choice if three as well. Just needs a live cover flow to follow and he will be tough.
7 WHATAORSE Has been sent off at long odds in all three starts here so far. Has not raced back to his initial effort. Looms a longshot.
8 HOT ART Broke through with a win against softer at Rosecroft. Note, he was 54-1 while well beaten when last seen here. Longshot.
9 MATTADOR D He came with a big rally last time. I don’t want to see him just take back because he will have a lot of ground to make up.
10 LONG FIGHT HANOVER Well-beaten at Tioga last time in a softer spot. Draws the outside here and this looks like a tough assignment.